ROCHESTER, Minn. - Mayo Clinic's youngest patients have a special place at the hospital where they can pick out toys to make their holiday a little brighter while receiving treatment. As you can imagine, the pandemic is changing things.
For ten years now, Linsey Rippy and her family has been collecting toys for children staying at Mayo Clinic over the holidays. They recently caught wind of the toy closet looking a little emptier nowadays. There's a toy closet on the 5th floor that is normally full of toys for kids to play with. Now with COVID-19, the toys are given to the kids instead of being returned back to the closet, so they're going through the supply a lot quicker.
Rippy knows first hand the importance of having toys available. She has two daughters who each received a heart transplant at Mayo Clinic. They're on a mission to see the closet full once again. "Usually in past years, we've partnered with 501c3's and stuff that have done larger donations and because of COVID, a lot of the 501c3's that are out there are struggling," explained Rippy. "So we potentially will lose a lot of our regular funds that we get. We just really want to get the word out there. Send us all the things."
This year has been tough on everyone, but Rippy doesn't want the little ones in the hospital to feel forgotten about. "The other part of it too is the mental health part. Because these kids are stuck in the hospital and especially when the holiday season comes up that's even worse," said Rippy. "Now with COVID, they can't have visitors. So it's really important to keep them occupied."
Rippy said they normally get to bring all the gifts to Mayo Clinic and give them to the kids, but she's thinking that unfortunately won't get to happen this year. They're not letting that stop them from making it the best toy drive though! If you would like to donate any toys, there's an Amazon wish list where you can purchase an item and it gets sent directly to them. Or you can contact Rippy directly and help out. Her email address is, firstname.lastname@example.org.